Project Updates with Terry
Terminal 4 Approval!
Following the NSW Planning and Assessment Commission (PAC) completing their review of the public submissions received at the last Terminal 4 public meeting in July 2015, the PAC have now completed their assessment of the Terminal 4 Project and on Thursday 1st October 2015 we were given the great news that after almost 5 years of sustained effort from us, the project was finally approved ! This is great news and provides us with the opportunity to get on with planning for future with the knowledge that this element of our potential growth is locked in for at least five years. The five year period relates to the approval timeline the project has been assigned before it lapses should we not progress any substantial construction.
The PAC approval for Terminal 4 is a significant milestone and reinforces the excellent work done by the Project team and the technical consultants who have provided the factual data that has subsequently given the PAC the confidence to approve our project.
As with all approvals, the Terminal 4 approval comes with a number of stringent conditions which we must comply with before construction commences, during construction, and during operations of the terminal once built. Our small but dedicated Terminal 4 team now moves into the task of developing an action plan to ensure compliance with the nominated approval conditions.
I again would also like to thank all of you who have supported the project by way of speaking at PAC meetings, submitting your support in writing to the PAC, contributing to the project with offers of assistance and ideas, and generally helping to keep the team motivated during some challenging times.
You may recall from earlier reports, PAC approval completes the NSW State Government approval process , and we are now required to obtain approval from the Commonwealth Government to complete the entire project assessment process. The Commonwealth Government is required to assess our project impacts under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act). The Commonwealth Government has been involved in the process thus far and I expect an outcome from them will be forthcoming in December 2016, thereby completing the assessment process.
I expect my next correspondence to you will be providing an update on the outcome of that work.
Terminal 4 Update
The final Planning and Assessment Commission (PAC) public meeting was held in Newcastle on the 13th and 14th July 2015. There were approximately 85 submissions presented to the Commissioners detailing support or opposition to our proposed Terminal 4 development. Support for our project represented approximately 20% of the submissions. I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to prepare submissions and attend the hearings. I would particularly like to express my thanks to those people who offered their time and commitment to either present their supporting cases at the meeting or supported us by simply attending the meeting.
In terms of outcomes from the meeting, I don’t believe any “new” items were raised in opposition to the project. The PAC now has the task of completing its final deliberations on whether the project can be approved, and if so, what approval conditions are attached to the approval. Following comments from PAC during the recent public meeting in regard to the process going forward, I estimate PAC will hand down their decision on the project by the mid September 2015 – so we are really close now to the assessment process coming to an end, at least from a State perspective.
If the PAC approves Terminal 4, the Project will then be referred to the Commonwealth Government who will conduct a final review of the Project, studies and consent conditions and make a further determination under Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. It’s been a long haul getting to this point in the development assessment process but in my opinion, with some luck, we may have a final decision on the project by the end of the year.
You may have read recently about our commitment to a Voluntary Planning Agreement with Newcastle City Council as a result of the Terminal 4 project. While the assessment process to date identified that the impacts of Terminal 4 on Council services and infrastructure was low, it was important to us to make a lasting positive contribution to Newcastle. We are proud to enter into a Voluntary Planning Agreement, which commits approximately $12 million contribution to the City of Newcastle over a 25 year period. The $12 million commitment is the largest VPA in the history of Newcastle City Council and will be enacted upon once Terminal 4 construction commences.
Terminal 4 Heads to Second PAC
I am pleased to advise the T4 Project has now moved to the Planning and Assessment Commission (PAC) for project determination. This is the final stage of State assessment for our project.
On Friday 5th June 2015, the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DoP) forwarded their final Terminal 4 project assessment report to the PAC. This report is in response to the initial PAC review report which was completed in December 2014. The submission of the latest assessment report to the PAC is a result of approximately 14 weeks of review and assessment work from the DoP, and the PAC is now accountable for reviewing the final project assessment report, and making a final determination as to whether the project is approved, and if approved the nature of any consent conditions.
This week it has been confirmed that as part of this process the PAC will be holding a public meeting in Newcastle at Fort Scratchley on 13th July and possibly 14th July if required. This meeting is a final opportunity for interested parties to comment on the Department of Planning & Environment’s assessment report and recommended conditions of approval before a decision is made.
Based on previous examples, we are expecting the meeting to run in a similar format to the PAC hearings meetings last year – with a wide range of people and views participating.
Given the level of work completed over the past 4.5 years since the project assessment process was first initiated, and the fact that we have strived to meet all requirements presented by the relevant approval bodies, I remain confident that the project is well placed for a positive determination from the PAC. In terms of likely timing for a PAC determination, we are solely in the hands of the PAC from this point forward, so it is difficult to pinpoint an accurate determination date. No doubt the project will continue to attract media attention over the coming months. I will keep you updated with progress as we participate in this final leg of anticipated State approval for our project.
More information about the registering for the PAC or to obtain a copy of the Department of Planning and Environment assessment report please go to the PAC website: www.pac.nsw.gov.au
Planning and Assessment Commission recommends “approval” of T4
On Monday 16th December 2014, following approximately four months of concise and detailed review and deliberation, the NSW Planning and Assessment Commission (PAC) released their much awaited Terminal 4 Project Review findings. In a nutshell the PAC has concluded our project to be “approvable” subject to certain conditions. This is a great result for Port Waratah and the Coal Chain and is our most positive step to date in achieving our goal of obtaining a full approval.
Throughout the course of the approval process, Port Waratah has continued to meet all requirements presented by approval authorities and this latest report indicates that in general, the relevant authorities have a strong degree of confidence in the Project’s design, environmental offsets and proposed management strategies in regards to potential issues such as dust and noise. Again, I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the project – your support and commitment has been crucial in getting us to this point.
The next step in the process is for us to review the PAC report, including the PAC’s recommendations and how they apply to the scope of the project. We will then mostly likely provide a formal response to the Department of Planning and Environment in early 2015, who in turn, will complete their final T4 report for PAC. We are expecting that after that, next step will be for the determination to be delegated to a second PAC process, who then determines the Project’s approval status. We are hoping this process could be complete in the first half of 2015.
Getting closer to a final approval ……but still some work to do!
Wishing you and your family a safe and happy festive season.
Well, the long awaited and anticipated T4 PAC Public Hearing Process was completed this week.
The public hearing created a PAC record for the number of registered speakers – 126 in total. The public hearing gave the community further opportunity to raise concerns and issues about our project in a most transparent manner. Whilst there were a significant number of speakers in opposition to the project, we also had 27 speakers supporting the project.
The issues raised by opponents were numerous and broadly in line with previous issues raised through the other public hearing processes. I remain confident of the quality of our Environmental Assessment in that we have addressed the range of environmental issues raised throughout the course of the project in a most professional manner.
On a personal note, I would like to express my thanks to all who supported the project throughout the two days of the PAC public hearing, including those who spoke in support of the project and those who attended the hearing at different times to support their workmates and Port Waratah. Those workmates included a number of our contractors who spoke passionately about their work and that of Port Waratah – and also included a team of employees from Doito Industrial Painting waving placards “WE SUPPORT T4” which provided some great moral support for us! – Thanks to Jeff and his team at Doito.
The approval process now enters a stage whereby the PAC commissioners consider the issues raised by the community and the detail of our EA, before writing a review report and submitting such to the Minister for Planning. Given the amount of information the Commissioners need to consider this will not be a short process and may take some months to complete.
As always, I will keep you updated as we progress through the approval process.
29th August 2014
The road ahead for Terminal 4 has become a little clearer with the announcement last week of the Planning and Assessment Commission (PAC) Panel.
The PAC will undertake an independent review of the Projects Environmental Assessment and related submissions and reports. The three members of the PAC Panel; Mr Paul Forward, Mr Brian Gilligan and Mr Joe Woodward will hold public hearings in Newcastle on the 26th August 2014.
The public hearings will provide opportunity for supporters and opponents to the project to voice their various opinions for consideration by the PAC.
I look forward to the process ahead and the opportunity to reconfirm the facts and real benefits of this significant project for Newcastle and the Hunter.
There has been much discussion in recent weeks about the potential developer contribution in regards to Terminal 4. Regardless of the media reporting on this issue, I can clearly state that Port Waratah remains committed to working with Newcastle City Council in determining an appropriate developer contribution. The quantum of the contribution must importantly reflect the impact of the project on council services and infrastructure. I remain confident this issue will be resolved in the process moving forward.
I look forward to providing you with further progress reports as we enter into this next stage of the Terminal 4 approval process.
It feels like it has been a long time coming, but I am excited to announce that the NSW Department of Planning has now referred the Terminal 4 Project to the Planning and Assessment Commission (PAC) for independent review.
I believe it’s a promising sign that included in those review documents is a draft set of Conditions of Approval prepared by the NSW Department of Planning. All of the development application documents, including the proposed draft conditions, are now publically available for review.
The PAC will facilitate a public hearing process which will provide opportunities for individuals, groups, and business to present their respective views on the project in a public forum. It is anticipated the public hearing process will occur in August 2014.
Being referred to PAC is a significant milestone and a culmination of about four years of detailed work and significant expenditure, in which Port Waratah has fully complied with the NSW Department of Planning requirements for a project. We have worked hard to ensure that our project represents a genuine, balanced approach which integrates quality engineering, environmental initiatives and positive community benefits resulting in a first class coal terminal design.
Whilst the PAC process represents a critical piece of the overall approval process, the process does not end there. The next stage after the review will be to determine the outcomes of the application, and if successful, the project will then move to the Commonwealth Government for approval under the EPBC Act.
So although it seems like we have already travelled a long road, we still have a little while to go yet. I look forward to the upcoming events and will advise you of the PAC Public Hearing dates as soon as it is announced.
1st July 2014
Happy New Year – I hope you and your family had a restful and safe festive season. With the traditional holiday period now behind us, work on the Terminal 4 project approval has recommenced in earnest.
Thank you to all of you who lodged submissions as part of the public exhibition of the Terminal 4 Preferred Project Report. Estimated numbers show that the Department of Planning and Infrastructure received about 1,000 submissions. Of those, approximately 600 were in support of the Project, 350 opposed and the remainder provided general comment.
Port Waratah has finalised our review of the submissions and developed responses where appropriate to the issues identified by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure as requiring a response.
The next steps of the process are facilitated by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure and the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC). It is expected that the PAC will hold public hearings in Newcastle in February or March 2014 as part of their review. These hearings will be an opportunity for individuals and organisations to present directly to the review panel about the Project. The PAC will promote the hearings, which includes placing advertisements in the paper. We will also endeavor to keep you informed of the proposed PAC Hearing dates once determined.
Terry – General Manager Development
31st January 2014